All Party Parliamentary Group confirms surrogacy law needs reform, again
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Surrogacy (APPG) confirms once again that surrogacy law in the UK needs reform. Following the Law Commission’s provisional proposals for law reform, a group of MPs has published a report which endorses its recommendations and acknowledges the growing demand for surrogacy law reform. As an organisation long at the forefront of the campaign for surrogacy law reform, the report is welcomed by us all at Brilliant Beginnings.
About the APPG on Surrogacy
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Surrogacy, chaired by Andrew Percy MP, and supported by Surrogacy UK, is an informal group of MPs interested in surrogacy. It has, over the past year, been hearing from parents, surrogates and professionals about their experiences and has now published its report which sets out all the evidence it has heard and supports law reform unreservedly.
Read the report
Find the full APPG report here: Report on the understandings of the law and practice of surrogacy.
The conclusions of the report
The key conclusions from this report include the APPG saying that they:
- Welcome the government’s support for surrogacy and the Department of Health guidance documents
- Endorse the calls for new surrogacy legislation with ‘at birth’ parenthood, based on a pre-conception process including robust surrogacy agreements
- Recommend the creation of a more stable system in the UK to remove the ‘push factors’ for seeking surrogacy overseas
- Recommend maintaining the principle of altruism in UK surrogacy (although with more transparency around expenses including allowing modest holidays and gifts) with no move toward a commercial model of surrogacy
- Endorse the recommendation that surrogacy organisations should remain non-profit but be regulated
Our thoughts on the report’s key conclusions
As the APPG rightly makes clear, the bedrock for reform is that intended parents must be considered legal parents of their child ‘at birth’. That goes to the heart of a well-established and ethical surrogacy relationship, putting the child in a secure legal position and leaving the surrogate (and her civil partner or husband) without unwanted responsibility.
There need to be checks, balances and safeguards, and we are glad to see endorsement of counselling, criminal records checks and health screening pre-conception. Brilliant Beginnings provides the most rigorous safeguards of any UK surrogacy organisation, designed to keep everyone safe and supported. Those checks include – in addition to those the APPG has recommended – legal support, psychological evaluation for all our surrogates, and a fully-managed professional support service for surrogacy teams through every step of their journey.
Overall the APPG’s recommendations for reform are in line with what the Law Commission has already provisionally recommended, although the APPG goes further in saying that the law should only allow surrogates to be reimbursed for expenses (including modest gifts and holidays). It is important to highlight that this recommendation reflects the approach taken by Surrogacy UK, but it is neither reflective of the current law nor of the full range of UK surrogacy experience.
The Law Commission, in contrast, has acknowledged how difficult it is for the law to define and regulate categories of payments to surrogates, and has not yet made any recommendations on what any new law should say. At Brilliant Beginnings we think the law must be realistic. While no surrogate in the UK undertakes surrogacy purely for financial gain, surrogates should be free to choose to be compensated for their commitment and time if they wish. Find out more about the payments to surrogates issue.
We are also calling for more attention to supporting families created through surrogacy overseas. International surrogacy is here to stay and, while it is important for the law to incentivise ethical surrogacy practice, there are also ethical overseas options. With a seemingly growing narrative around discouraging overseas surrogacy, we are keen to make sure that families created through international surrogacy are not left behind in law reform.
We are delighted that the APPG conclusions confirm what we at Brilliant Beginnings and NGA Law have long campaigned for. We need MPs to understand why surrogacy law is so outdated and it is with great hope that we look forward to much-needed reform. Our surrogate families deserve nothing less.
How Brilliant Beginnings is campaigning for surrogacy law reform
Learn more about our surrogacy law reform campaigning and progress.